Seeking family adventure in South America, look no further than Ecuador’s cloud forest! The Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena region extends from Columbia to Peru. This biodiversity hotspot is incredibly important to preserve, and for the conservation of flora and fauna. Ecuador’s slice of the pie is beautiful, accessible and ripe for adventure for all ages. All of our recommended lodges in the cloud forest are an easy drive from Quito (so the kids won’t get bored or restless!), have family-friendly activities, excellent guides and lots of birds, insects, plants and animals to keep the whole family interested.
For the ultimate in biodiversity, along with amazing food, lodging and amenities, we recommend a stay at Mashpi Lodge in Mindo. This National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World property is the largest of the recommended cloud forest accommodations and offers high-end accommodation, expert guiding and a huge range of adventures. From hiking the cloud forest’s vegetation-laden trails and streams to riding eye-level with the forest canopy on a ‘sky bike’ or their unique ‘dragonfly’ chairlift, there’s plenty to keep everyone not just entertained but thoroughly engaged with the world around them.
For a more intimate experience in the same ecosystem, we love El Monte lodge. Designed to be and stay small, the lodge owners decided that there should be a ratio formula between guests at the lodge and amount of land owned to keep the ecological impact to a minimum. Even meals are designed to be low on the food chain and with a small ecological footprint. While non-red meat is sometimes served, the lodge is a great choice for vegetarians. Guests can enjoy a variety of activities in the cloud forest including horseback riding, whitewater rafting and incredible birding.
Recently Tropic’s Jascivan Carvalo, our trusted ground partners GM, visited Kapari Natural Lodge & Spa on the western side of the Andes with his family and came back raving. Guide Francisco ensured a fantastic experience for the whole family, but most especially the kids. Jasci called him the ‘master of kids’ – Francisco made the forest and the night skies come alive for them, and made their stay a very special and memorable one.
Cabanas San Isidro are found on the Amazon side and offer families everything from fishing and river swimming to archaeology excursions and cooking classes. Wildlife viewing and birding are rich in this area and can be done on the local trail system, which is appropriate for most fitness levels. Meals aren’t an afterthought – the food at Cabanas San Isidro will not only keep your clients fueled for all of their activities, they will delight with their thoughtfulness and local flavors. A stay at the Cabanas explores a range of Ecuador’s ecosystems, as well as local culture, arts and foodways.